Enrique Salciunas joined Coca-Cola on April 1, 1970, at the age of 15. His first job was in the company’s Argentina concentrate plant, where he handled small tasks like bank errands and running mail back and forth between company offices.

Forty-five years later, Salciunas – known to friends as Quique – is still with Coca-Cola.

Recently, Salciunas’ colleagues in Argentina staged a surprise dinner in honor of his long tenure with the company. He received a letter from Chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent and a special plaque signed by top executives from his region.

Records show that Salciunas is one of only four employees who have worked at the company 45 years or more. Coke’s longest-serving employee has 48 years of service.

When Salciunas started at Coke, he was studying chemistry. His passion for mechanics and electrical work led him to pursue a job in maintenance, starting in 1976. He worked on forklifts and, over time, gained more skills.

“Coca-Cola is, and has always been, my university,” Salciunas said. “After 18 years in the area, I became supervisor, responsible for the building, its equipment and facilities, as well as the schedule of the plant’s operation and different projects.”

As part of the Commercial Product Supply Latin America Development Program, Salciunas worked abroad for several months as maintenance supervisor in Costa Rica’s concentrate plant.

Currently, Salciunas is back in Buenos Aires, where he provides support to the maintenance and projects area, including the Nymph project, which is a model warehouse in the Argentina concentrate operation.

“Being part of the warehouse construction was a golden finale for my time in the company,” he said. “I’ve worked at the company for 35 percent of its history, for 62 percent of its time in Argentina and for 88 percent of the life of my plant. And I’ve spent 75 percent of my own life doing this work! I feel I am tailor-made for Coca-Cola.”